#Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for January 19, 2021

Hodie est a.d. XIV Kal. Feb. 2774 AUC ~ 6 Gamelion in the fourth year of the 699th Olympiad

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The life and deeds of the Persian king Cyrus the Great were recorded by awestruck ancient historians. Cyrus’s life was an inspiration to Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar … and he was praised in the Bible as ‘the anointed one’ for liberating the Jews of Babylon from their captivity. Today, some Israelis and evangelical Christians in the United States see fresh relevance in Cyrus’s story and have declared Donald Trump to be a modern-day ‘anointed one’

The Menaechmus Brothers is taken from a Greek new comedy original and via this version by Plautus was used by later dramatists, most notably Shakespeare. In the first half of this episode I summaries the plot that features identical twins and gets quite complicated and confusing for all concerned. I then discuss the weaknesses in the play and it’s more cynical outlook than seen in other plays by Plautus. A look at he naming of stock characters and some thoughts on the problematic female characters is followed by a look at the influence of the Saturnalia festival on the play. The theme of the identical twins is strong in the play and supported by other semantical elements in the structure and the Roman ideas of industria and voluptas.

Neoptolemus betrays Eumenes in Cappadocia, while the Coalition prepares to crush Royalist resistance in Asia Minor.

From the Great Wall of China to the Berlin Wall, history is littered with the building of barriers aimed at keeping people out, and sometimes in. Do they work? Are they ever a good thing? Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook climb walls and explore borders as they investigate the history of separation.

Tractantur quidam mores qui propter coniunctionem hiemis et coronaviri mutati sunt.

In this episode of Accessible Art History: The Podcast, I venture into the world of Neoclassical art. 

The first of a four part series on the Netflix original series Troy: Fall of a City, covering episode one of that show.   Two small corrections to things we said in this episode: first, women did sometimes give birth lying down. Second, there is some evidence to suggest that the Greeks did know about India as early as the Classical period (roughly the 500s BCE), but Alexander was the first substantial contact between the Mediterranean and India.

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends victory for the king and the people will get the upper hand.

… adapted from the text and translation of:

Jean MacIntosh Turfa, The Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar, in Nancy Thomson de Grummond and Erika Simon (eds.), The Religion of the Etruscans. University of Texas Press, 2006. (Kindle edition)